“Yes I was surprised,” Stuteville said after the reunion. “I thought she was coming home tomorrow.”
His daughter Allie has been stationed with the U.S. Army, in Gardez, Afghanistan. She was deployed overseas in January and had earned two weeks of R&R with her father, husband and young daughter, Brad and Kairi Blackburn.
She was picked up Wednesday morning in Chattanooga by her husband and daughter, who transported her to the J&S Restaurant offices on Candies Lane.
The office staff set up the surprise, which brought tears of joy to her father’s eyes as he hugged his daughter and granddaughter.
Allie Blackburn, a 2006 graduate of Bradley Central High School, is an intelligence analyst with the Army. She enlisted in April 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan eight months ago.
“I’ve enjoyed the Army, except for leaving my family,” she said.
Brad Blackburn is a 2005 graduate of Cleveland High School. He is a stay-at-home dad while his wife is serving her tour of duty with the U.S. Army. The two were married in March 2007.
The couple plans to spend some time at a cabin in Gatlinburg while she is home for her two-week stay.
Her father, the training director for J&S Restaurants, admitted he was somewhat surprised Wednesday afternoon, adding that it was a good surprise.
Young Kairi slipped her mom’s cap over her head, but was quick to respond when asked where it came from.
“It’s my Mommy’s hat,” she said with a frown at what she apparently considered a stupid question.